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A good nightís sleep

Alexandra Tyminski
MSM Class of 2015

(2/2015) When I was in the third grade, there was this one legend that was known in my small private grade school. This legend was passed down from grade to grade and when I heard it as a third grader, I was terrified.

"Oh yes, she is the worst," I would hear other kids say.

"I have heard she has made students cry before," my friend told me.

"She is known for being hard. Many people struggle in her class," said the fifth graders.

The legend became clear to me as I approached the fourth grade; the legend was, letís just call her, Ms. Walters. Ms. Walters is a teacher I will never forget. Not only was she hard, but she also expected a lot. Punctuality was important in her classroom, but a sense of professionalism and respect was also always significant. Looking back, she was one of the best and most memorable teachers I have ever had. We had to learn, memorize, and teach others what we had learned. Might I add that even for a fourth grader, she believed everything was possible.

Although this was what made many students dislike Ms. Walters, it was actually what made me like her, even more so now that I am older. In grade school, she taught us every subject from reading and writing, to science and math. The fourth grade with Ms. Walters was all about mastering cursive, memorizing all 50 states and their capitals, and giving presentations to the class on what we learned each week. However, Ms. Walters loved history. Our big project throughout the whole year was to learn a new president each week, along with three to five main facts about them. At the end of the year, we were tested on our knowledge of each president of the United States of America, along with at least two facts about all of the presidents. This was our biggest test of the year.

Long story short, I passed my presidents test. I actually got a perfect score, but I am not here to brag about my good grade on my presidents test. From time to time, Ms. Walters will be brought up in my family, and my best friend and I will always joke about how hard her class was. We even laugh about how after her class, I would proclaim that I really wished I were going to be president one day.

"Thatís a very hard job, sweetie," my mom would chuckle and remind me of how hard the president works.

My dad would always say, "I wouldnít want to be president. I bet we sleep better at night than him."


Last month, we heard Barack Obama give his State of the Union address on January 20. I remember when I heard his speech, and I also read his full text speech online again. As I read the State of Union for the second time, I got the chills. I realized, wow, we really do sleep better than the president.

Many of the issues that the presidentís State of the Union addressed are concerns and disputes between politicians and society today. It seems as though the presidentís address was not only timely, but also ironic, as Presidents Day is just this month on February 16. Presidents Day is meant to honor the presidents of our nation. It is meant to recognize, admire, and thank the presidents who lost sleep over serving our country.

Presidents Day is different than any other day. It is not only a day of honor, but also a day of unity. I would say that on any other day except Presidents Day, the country is tearing apart not only our current president, but also past presidents. It seems like politics and debates around issues, reforms, and initiatives that the presidents have or have not done have become daily traditions. I am not in any way saying that people should not express their opinions, but I am asking you to think about how much negativity we see. In order to turn some negativity into more positivity, I ask you to reconsider the nature of Presidents Day itself.

It seems as though there are two sides, or components, to Presidents Day. The first component is honor. We honor our presidents because these are the men who have set aside their time, efforts, and hard work toward unifying our nation. Sometimes, we do not always agree with the decisions they make, but we honor their ability to take on that leadership role. To honor someone, in the dictionary, is defined as to hold one in high respect. This seems appropriate for Presidents Day, since this is what we are doing. How do we honor our presidents? There are parades, celebrations, and a lot of good words spoken on Presidents Day. But, there is more that we as a nation can do. We can learn about the presidents, who they were, and what they did. I canít remember all of my facts that Ms. Walters made us learn, but I think that a major part of our history lies within our nationís presidents. We should honor them for making certain parts of history the way they are and bringing us to the America we know and live in today.

The second element to Presidents Day is thankfulness. We can sit and thank all of our past presidents for what they have done to help change America for the better, but we should also thank them for upholding the high standards that we have for our president. I look around and watch the news, and I see how not every nation is blessed with the types of presidents we have had. Every time I watch other nations suffer, I always ask myself the same question: where are their leaders?

Through contemplation of this question, I have discovered that the heart of Presidents Day lies within honoring leadership that strives to bind unity. This is what we are honoring and thanking our Presidents for, after all. Most of the countries in the world that do not get to elect their presidents are lost and without hope, suffering from confusion. There are those good people from other nations like you and me who may disagree with their presidents, but the difference is that their presidents turn against them. These people are suffering because they cannot speak up against their presidents. Shouldnít we take this into consideration when we are about to say something about our political system and our presidents?

I get it. Not every idea, proposition, or bill passed in Congress is going to be something we agree with. Not everything that the presidents in our past, present, or future say is going to be to our liking. We donít agree on everything, and sometimes we arenít ever going to understand why certain presidents have made or make the decisions they do. But, we are asked to trust their leadership and look beyond some of their mistakes in order to support our identity as Americans, which is one nation in unity. Presidents of our nation have recognized differences, but they have done their best to create unity among us. See, we are lucky. Because even if we disagree with our presidents at times, we have the ability to safely know that our nation has freely elected the person who we believe will uphold our rights as citizens, strive for greatness as a country, and represent our values.

Politics and politicians have in some way or another asked us to separate what we like and what we donít like about our presidents on a daily basis. Sometimes, we forget to honor our presidents 365 days out of the year instead of just one. The divide between political parties and what mistakes presidents have made become more prevalent than what has been done by them to help us evolve as a nation. Why do we give into the negativity? Are we just forgetting about our presidents and what they have done for us? Maybe an avid historian is reading my article, or maybe even a politician, but whoever we are in this nation, we need to care about our presidents. We shouldnít care about them on just one day, but rather we should care, honor, and thank them every day. Through casualties, disagreements, triumphs, challenges, and international affairs, at the end of the day, we canít deny that we will always turn to the President of the United States of Americaóno matter what political party we are.


Ms. Walters taught me that history is important because it is a connection to the past, to where we have come from, and it reveals just how far we have come. As a young person who is just starting to realize how my years ahead will truly be affected by future presidencies and how it has been affected by those in the past, I ask that you join in celebrating all 44 presidents of our beautiful nation. And to all of my presidents, I hope you get to sleep well on the day that we honor you.

Read other articles by Alexandra Tyminski